- Wigan Athletic battled to their first point in six games with a creditable 2-2 draw at Swansea City.
- Latics went in front on eight minutes when Will Keane headed home James McClean’s corner and on 16 minutes Tom Naylor doubled their lead from another McClean corner.
- The visitors contained the hosts for most of the first half but on 43 minutes Ryan Manning reduced the deficit with a superb curling strike past Jamie Jones.
- Latics defended resolutely in the second half but they were undone late on when Jason Kerr brought down substitute Kyle Naughton in the penalty area and Joel Piroe converted the spot kick to save the Swans blushes.
- Wigan remain in the Championship relegation zone and Swansea are in ninth place.
Swansea started brightly and Armstrong Oko-Flex had an opportunity in the fourth minute but he dragged his shot wide.
Latics soon got into their stride and after Steven Benda had pushed Nathan Broadhead’s drive around the post from the resulting corner Latics went in front. McClean’s in-swinging corner was met by Keane who headed home for his seventh goal of the season.
It was not long before Latics doubled their lead from another excellent McClean corner which was this time headed home by Naylor at the near post.
The hosts were stunned and they struggled to find their usual rhythm and when they did get forward Latics were well organised and defended resolutely. Naylor was having a crucial role shielding the back three and winning important tackles.
It looked as though Latics would go into the half time break with a two goal lead but just before the interval Manning unleashed a curling strike from the edge of the area beyond Jones to reduce the arrears.
2-1 to Latics at the break.
The Swans created an opportunity at the start of the second half with Piroe almost immediately forcing an excellent save from Jones.
As the half progressed the hosts were dominating possession and Latics had to defend in numbers. But the visitors defended well and limited the hosts to only a few chances.
Ollie Cooper going close for the Swans when he flicked Naughton’s cross narrowly wide of the post.
Leam Richardson replaced McClean and Broadhead with Thelo Aasgaard and Callum Lang on the hour mark as he looked to give Latics some more attacking options.
Russell Martin responded for the Swans by making a triple substitution with Matthew Sorinola, Naughton and Oliver Ntcham replacing Cundle, Cabango and Obefemi.
Josh Magennis replaced the hard working Wyke on 72 minutes.
It looked as though Latics might weather the storm but on 80 minutes Jason Kerr collided with Naughton and referee Craig Pawson awarded a penalty. Piroe converted the spot kick and Swansea were level.
Graeme Shinnie and Joe Bennett replaced Kerr and Naylor on 85 minutes, and Latics had an opportunity to restore their lead in seven minutes of added time but Bennett’s free kick was saved by Benda.
Overall a very creditable away point for Latics at the Swansea.com Stadium but it could so easily have been three.
There’s been a lot of unfair criticism of Leam Richardson on social media this week and the manager and team showed their character and determination to prove the doubters wrong against Swansea.
The doomsayers have been quick to suggest the manager is not up to the job, but Richardson’s team had been unlucky not to pick up at least three points from the previous three games.
The team spirit and togetherness of the players and manager was evident throughout in South Wales. In the first half Latics had counter attacked effectively and scored two excellent headers from well worked set pieces.
In the second half they had to defend resolutely against a team who are pushing for the play-offs and had won five of their last six games at home.
It was frustrating to see Latics concede an equaliser late on but most supporters would’ve taken a point prior to the game after the recent run of bad results.
Richardson is currently working with a League One squad and a few new signings and loan players. If he is given the resources to strengthen in the January transfer window, a few strategic signings should help to establish the club in the Championship.
Richardson has done a remarkable job in such a short space of time, saving the club from relegation during administration and gaining promotion and the League One title in his first full season.
He does not become a bad manager just because of a few bad results. He certainly deserves a better backing from some of our fan base.
Post match comments
Speaking afterwards Latics manager said that it was another point gained after a performance full of grit, determination and character.
“We know the relentlessness of the Championship and the challenges that we face,” he said
“It can either be two points dropped or one point gained, and I always look at the positives.
“Factually, our performances haven’t really reflected results but that’s the division we are in. It’s important that every time we enter the pitch, we’re positive and full of energy, as well as being respectful of the opposition.
“It probably deserved to be a draw. We had to defend at times in the second half, but we knew that before the game.
“Can we be better in certain moments? Of course, we can. We’re still evolving and trying to be better in those moments.
“(I felt) the endeavour and commitment could not be questioned, and I don’t think they could’ve given any more.
“We’re moving forward at a great rate, going up against the likes of QPR, Watford, Stoke City and Watford every three days with a squad that has come from League One who are relishing the challenge.
“If we can keep making those positive steps with the help of the owners, we’ll be in a better place tomorrow and the next day.”